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10:18am on Sunday, 19th June, 2011:



I bought my usual Twining's Early Grey tea yesterday at Sainsbury's, and noticed that the packet design had changed. Fair enough, except ... hold on, what's that written in the top right corner?

"New & improved"? What? WHAT? That means it's going to TASTE DIFFERENT! Augh! Augh! Long-standing QBlog readers will know what I endure to try find the perfect Earl Grey, and Twinings is the best I can get in a supermarket. If they've changed the recipe, though, it's going to taste worse. (Note for younger readers: whenever anything is advertised as being "improved", it's like a code word for "made rubbish". I remember when Mars Bars didn't taste like some kind of unsweetened health food...).

Sure enough, I got home, made myself a cuppa using the new tea bags, and bleah. It's way too floral. Actually, I'd thought the last batch of Earl Grey teabags I'd bought was more floral than usual, but these have definitely crossed a line. Oh well, I still have a stash of about 20 Taylors of Harrogate bags I bought when I was up north at Easter; maybe if I have those for a week or so it'll give the Twinings time to lose its edge.

Would that I were only complaining about improved tea, but no: I was also alarmed to see this in Sainsbury's too:

"Improved recipe"? How can you IMPROVE on a recipe for Dandelion and Burdock? D&B comes in basically one of two tastes: the kind I grew up with (the exemplar being Corona, although they got absorbed by Britvic and the name disappeared); the kind they have down south, which tastes like rootbeer antiseptic mouthwash (the exemplar being R White's). I love the former and loathe the latter. Sainsbury's own brand D&B tasted like the former. What would it taste like with an improved recipe?

Well, I tried that when I got home, too. It tastes the same, only it's weaker. I guess "improved" in this instance means "more water". Improved profits, then.

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).